Sunday, June 28, 2009

The importance of old friendships

Today I drove 7 1/2 hours round trip to go to a friend's birthday party at Lake Norman, NC. Nancy turns 60 this week. She and I have been friends for around 12 years, give or take. She's part of my dinner group (10 women) in NC for which I drive to every other month or 2 or 3.

We surprised her and she was so happy. It's fun seeing someone enjoy their birthday so much. I don't understand people who hate birthdays. Anyway, her happiness was contagious and we all had a wonderful time laughing and talking. We talked about how long we'd be doing this together. I can definitely see the affects age is having on all of us in this group and I wonder when a serious illness will change the tone of our group. It will be tough. In 12 years it's been pretty smooth sailing for most of us.

After brunch I went to visit some other long-time friends who also live on the lake. We've been friends for at least 14 years, a treasured friendship, for sure. They were just here a week ago but we will never run out of things to say. I visited with them for a few hours then drove home feeling very relaxed and happy.

I don't have any friends from childhood that I keep in touch with regularly anymore which is kind of sad. Facebook has put me back in touch with some of them but it's not the same as visiting in person. Age, or I'd like to call it maturity, has changed my view of friendships, new and old, but especially the old. My one friend who I visited with today once said, while the olympics were being aired on TV, that we have 3 kinds of friends, gold, silver and bronze ones. All are important, but a person can only have a few gold medal friends and I need to hold mine dear and be proud of those friendships like a medal, because being a gold medal friend is worth the hard work of staying in touch and not taking them for granted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hi, my name is Karen Pannabecker and I'm an Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Addict

There, I've admitted it. I have to have a glass of very warm water with 1 Tbl. of undistilled vinegar and 1Tbl. of honey twice a day. I forget exactly how this all came about but I googled the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and read all kinds of fascinating things. Here's a website I found full of all kinds of neat stuff

I've been drinking this concoction for 3 or 4 months and have lost 8 or 9 pounds. I don't really think I've changed my diet all that much and I haven't been walking or doing any aerobic exercise. I do get lots of other exercise but that's not anything really new so I can only chalk it up to the ACV and honey. In addition to enjoying my loose waistbands, I'm actually enjoying the drink itself. I think I'm addicted.

I'll let you know if I've experienced any other benefits as time goes on. James is hoping it lowers his cholesterol. Maybe he'll have it tested again soon and see if it has helped.


I just came back to edit this post because I remembered something else that I think my new favorite drink (one of my favorite drinks) has helped. I used to get terrible stomach pains often when I ate red meat. Not anymore. I've had red meat several times in the past 4 months and have felt just fine afterwards. The real test will be if I can eat broccoli. Haven't tried that yet.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Update on the chickens

Before I got my chickens I studied up on the internet. I read all kinds of information on the Backyard Chicken forum website. It was important to me that the chickens stay in their fence so my dogs or other predators wouldn't get them. I read that a foot feet high fence usually does the trick but some people's chickens escaped. I thought 4 feet would be fine. I was wrong. I didn't have just a few of them escaping. They all did. At first it wasn't a big problem because their smaller fence is within a larger fence and often they'd just be wandering around the goat's fence. It wasn't long though till they flew out of the bigger one too. One night we didn't get home till after dark and when I went to close up their pen and make sure they were in bed, I found 4 of them perched on the goat's gate and one missing altogether. We looked around with a flashlight but couldn't find her. I got up early the next morning and found her perched on a 2X4 of the new barn. She flew down and I had to catch her and put her back in the fence because she couldn't find her way back in.

We decided it was time to clip one of their wings. We had friends visiting this weekend so they helped. James and Mike chased and caught the chickens and I did the clipping. I wish I thought earlier to get the camera because watching them catch 11 chickens would have been a great video. I've told you my chickens aren't too smart but they outsmarted James and Mike several times. It was a sight to be seen. Four hours later there were 5 chickens walking in our driveway. Ugh! We cut their wings shorter. As of yesterday there have been no more escapees but I'm not holding my breath.

We'll have to do this regularly because they molt and grow back their flight feathers. We're still having fun with them.

I'm downloading a video right now of James catching one of the chickens and me clipping it's wings. It's not near as funny as when they caught the chickens the first time but you'll get a picture of how hard it is to catch a chicken. It takes about an hour to download so if the video isn't on here check back later.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spouses working together

People always tell you you shouldn't work with your spouse. You know, things like painting or building, etc. I understand why they say that because we're usually less patient with the ones we love. Fortunately for me, James and I work pretty well together. Don't get me wrong, we have our moments, but on the whole things go pretty smoothly. For instance, building this barn has presented some pretty stressful moments, but we both know when to shut our mouths and move on, knowing that we both need each other's help and we both have about the same amount of building experience. Also, we've built so many things together that we know how the other one works to some extent. It's really good to have 2 brains working on the same project.

Last week we spent 3 days building the rafters. This was new to both of us. We both had our jobs and let the other do theirs. I can't remember how many rafters there are but somewhere around 12. You would have thought that by the time we reached number 6 we'd have it down pat. Well, on our last day I was working on rafter number 9 or 10 and I completely forgot how to draw the angles for the birdsmouth cut. I stood there for probably 5 or 10 minutes staring and my carpenter's square and 2X6, moving things this way and that. Finally James brought me my coffee and after a few swallows I figured it out again. It was a little crazy.

Today we got the last of the hard stuff done I think. Maybe the metal roof will be difficult, I don't know. I'm looking forward to laying the floor, hanging siding and building doors and windows. The most fun, I think, will be designing the floor plan for the goats, ie. pens, milking and feeding stations. There's no way I could have done this by myself.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blog Page- Rooster

I've been awake since 3AM and finally I decided to get up a little before 5:00 instead of lying there watching the clock. What else is there to do at 5AM when it's raining out but get on my computer? I discovered new ways to add more gadgets to my blog so that's what I did. You can now see what time it is (EST, of course), listen to Regina Spector sing, search youtube, and check the weather, all from my blog. There were thousands of gadgets I could add. Very cool. They appear on the right side of the page under the picture of holey jeans.

It's pouring right now and over the sound of the rain I can hear my rooster crowing. He just found his vocal chords 3 days ago and it's hillarious. He's getting so much better at cockadoodledooing. At first it wasn't quite right but we knew what he was trying to do. I just love hearing him. I don't have to worry about neighbors complaining of the noise since 2 other neighbors already have roosters. I need to post a picture of him on here soon because he's getting really pretty. Maybe I can video him crowing so you can enjoy it too. I'm thinking I should name him. Right now we call him Rooster. Does anyone have any suggestions for a name? He's an Australorp, black in color with hints of shiny blue and green.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Proud of us

I really stink at math. When I build I kind of make up a plan in my head and make things up as I go. I'd make a horrible architect or engineer. James likes to draw things out and make a plan. I understand that but it never really goes exactly as you plan anyway so I don't waste my time.

Today we began building rafters for the barn. It didn't seem like it should be all that hard. We picked a height for the front of it and then chose a pitch that would shed snow and rain pretty easily. The thing I didn't know was how to figure out what the pitch was. It turned out being 2;9, or however you write that. It means it has a 2 foot rise for every 9 feet in length. James figured that out by adding this and that and taking the square root of something. I didn't take the time to ask how he came up with it because I didn't need to know since he did. It was something having to do with the height and length of the barn, I think.

Okay, so we had our pitch. Now, how to attach the rafters to the front and back girters (that's a new word we're using now also)? The way the rafters are notched out on the girters are called bird's mouth cuts. It was another thing we had to figure out with numbers and a carpenter's square. Well, neither of us had ever used a carpenter's square in this way. We'd only used it to mark boards and make sure things were, well, square. Of course, there's no better way for me to learn something than by seeing someone else do it. Reading about it doesn't cut it for me unless there are lots of very clear drawings. Since there wasn't a carpenter here to teach us I went to the obvious source, YOUTUBE.COM. I typed in "building rafters" and, TA DA! Just what I needed. I watched Robert Markee, from Expertvillage explain how to measure and cut angles and bird'smouths on a rafter. I watched it maybe 6 or 7 times and finally I thought I got it. I went back outside and tried out what I learned. Well, shut-my-mouth, if it didn't work. I made all the measurements and James trusted me for some reason. Maybe because I pretended to look like I knew what I was doing. I made the cuts, we took it up the ladders and I didn't yell WooHoo, but I wanted to. It all fit perfectly. The two of us weren't fit to be around for a while, we thought we were so good.

We spent a good part of our day thinking and figuring so we didn't get done as much as I thought we would but now that we know what we're doing the rafters should move along a lot quicker. It really takes time because the 2x6's are only 16 feet long and the roof is longer than that so we have to piece together a few boards to make one. It's pretty cumbersome but it works. When I bought lumber I hadn't figured on needing 2 boards per rafter, plus I forgot to buy floor joists, so now we need to go back to Lowes and get more.

We're pretty pleased with how things are going. It's not perfect by any means, but I don't think the goats will notice any mistakes we've made. We may want to spend a few nights in it ourselves before we hand it over to them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Leaving a comment on my blog

I've been told that people haven't been able to leave a comment on my blog. I just figured out why. The problem is fixed now (I hope). Please comment away.

Re-visiting the gender being kind to the opposite gender idea

I thought I'd comment some more on what I said 2 posts previous about how men are usually more helpful to me and women more helpful to James. My sister-in-law, Jan, emailed after reading that post and told me this is what happened when she took her car in to be serviced. I hope you don't mind me using you in my blog, Jan. She said:

I told Phil I wanted him to go along as I was tired of having to deal with the service people there. I had pulled in to the service area and Phil parked his car and walked up to the van. I was explaining what service was needed and the service guy checking me in was giving me the usual patronizing condescending attitude they all seemed so good at. He saw Phil, stopped talking to me, and told Phil he would be right with him. I wished I had brought a tape recorder. He immediately ignored me, talked directly to Phil, who told him exactly what I had about the service needed. His whole tone of voice, body language, was different when he talked to Phil.

I've heard this kind of story many times and I can't believe it still happens. What difference does it make who tells what's wrong with a car? My guess is that the majority of men who take their car in to be serviced don't know a whole lot about the car either. We all just like them to run well, right?

I've had similar experiences with my building projects. There are some men who question me about how I did something, almost challenging me. They refuse to say I did a good job. I doubt they would even if they thought I did do a great job. Then there are other men who are generous with their praise and have asked my opinion about how to do something. They've even asked for my help. Some even brag about my work which is an ego builder, of course, and always welcome.

I like the idea of reversing roles. James does all our canning and freezing. He's gentler and sweeter than I. I do more building and repairs than James. An old woman once remarked that we had things backwards. I thought that was funny. Maybe I should gather some stories from people, like the one Jan told, and write about them. And maybe some about nice ways they were treated even though they were the opposite sex. I bet I could come up with some good ones. Anyone care to share?

James' garden

Even though I don't help much with the garden I thought I should put a few pictures on my blog of James' garden. In one of the pictures you'll see a garden packed with potatoes. We need to start eating some of them while they're still young. Sometimes we forget about those root vegetables. Unfortunately the carrots and beets didn't do too well this year. The beets that did grow look ready to eat. Right now our bumper crops are peas and lettuce. The green beans are tiny but on their way.

James spends many hours out there. I don't know how a person can hoe or weed for 7 hours straight and say they enjoy it. He told me last night he's writing something, Conversations with a garden (I think that's right). Maybe he'll start a blog and post what he's written on it.

Now, while I may not really like helping in the garden, I sure enjoy cooking it and eating it. I don't thank James enough for doing this so here it is, thank you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Perfect Day

All went as planned with a few nice surprises thrown in today. My lawnmower part came in so I picked that up but didn't put it on the tractor yet. I had too many other things I wanted to do. I got the rest of my lumber and concrete at Lowes and once again had some very nice men help me load up. While I was standing in line a woman came up and told me she had a $15.00 coupon that expired today and she couldn't use it and wanted to know if I could. You had to spend over $150.00 that's why she asked. She gave it to me and walked away. What a nice person.

I came home and started work on the goat shed. I was able to get the 16 feet long posts in the ground and plumb all by myself by using 2x4's screwed to them to hold them in place. I've posted a picture of this down below. I got about half of them done but not concreted in and then 2 men drove up our driveway. James was working in the garden and walked over to see who they were. They were relatives of the Cashes, the people who owned this house before us. Blain Barney (James thought he said Bonnie. He still has a hard time with accents.) who was 88 years old, and Frank Cash, who was 91 years old. I bet they stayed for and hour or hour and a half talking about the good old days, how they missed their deceased wives, RV's, and on and on while we listened. They were really sweet men. I exchanged address and phone numbers with Frank who lives about 2 hours away. He wants us to come stay with him sometime. When he left he said he'd be waiting to hear a ding-a-ling and held his hand to his ear. Their visit got me behind schedule but I enjoyed them both and was glad they stopped by.

I concreted in the 4 posts and then it started raining so I came in to make dinner. If it hadn't rained who knows when we would have had dinner because I was feeling driven to finish these posts so the concrete would be hard by tomorrow and I could do a lot more building. After dinner I got the other 4 posts in. Hooray! Tomorrow will be fun, hammers, nails and saws, my favorite.

I called a sawmill to order the siding and flooring and he said it would be done very soon. That was a surprise too. The only thing I have left to buy is the metal roofing. I could get this built in less than a week if all goes like it did today. Cool.

Oh yeah, sing it, sing it, sing it, yeah yeah, oh happy day, oh oh oh, oh happy day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dancing, Frisbee, Learning, Rudeness and Gender.

Gosh, those dancers are so talented on So You Think You Can Dance. I wish I could do that.

We played Ultimate Frisbee tonight with 6 other friends. It took me forever to learn the rules and even when we were done I still wasn't sure I understood it all. I guess I'd never be able to follow the choreography on So You think You Can Dance. I can be a slow learner sometimes.

I wasn't a slow learner this morning though when it came to understanding that the waitress at breakfast didn't want to be there. She was about as rude as she could be. I met a friend for breakfast and we were just happy to get together and didn't let the waitress spoil our fun.

I was treated much different at Lowes afterwards. I bought some of the lumber and concrete I needed for the goat barn. Three men helped me get what I needed and loaded it in my truck too. James and I decided that some jobs (the ones dealing with men) are best done by me and the ones where women are involved may be better done by James. Funny how that works, huh? I feel quite certain that waitress would have been nicer to James.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Working the polls

I told a guy friend I was working the polls on Tuesday and he wondered if I meant pole dancing. Yeah, that's so like me. No, yesterday was the democratic primary here. Most of the people in our precinct voted only for governor and had no idea who the people running for lieutenant governor were. When I say "all the people" that was only speaking for the 69 people who voted. Pretty pitiful. For the presidential election we had over 600 vote in our precinct.

Needless to say, it was a long day working the polls. Actually, I like the people I work with and they make the day go a little faster so it's less painful. Also, it's fun to see some of my "neighbors" who I don't see on a regular basis. We get some real characters in who keep things interesting too. Some people get irritated over the slightest things or even throw a tantrum. God forbid, their name doesn't appear in our poll book and we have to make make a phone call to be sure they can vote in our precinct. Some storm out the door like they think they're punishing us. One man was so patient with us yesterday. His name didn't appear in the book even though his wife's name was there and he had just voted in the November election. We called the board of elections to see why he wasn't in the book and found that someone else had the same name, Regis Bowman, but it was a woman with the middle name Geraldine. She had moved out of state so they removed her name. Unfortunately for our Regis, the man, they got them mixed up and his name, too, was removed. He was such a good sport even though he had to hang out with us for 15 more minutes. His wife was a trooper too.

An 82 year old woman came in a half hour before we were to close, dressed in a very flowery blouse and a big straw hat. She's very loud and her speach is slurred like she's had too much to drink. She demands you pay attention to her and she's extremely bossy. One of my co-workers, Richard, was really reamed out by her. He asked which booth she wanted to use. She couldn't hear or understand him and said, "I can't understand you. You speak right to me. I'm an old lady". He told her he was an old man too. He's 70 and not in good health. She then went on to tell him all her ailments. Every now and then she'd start to cry for no more than 5 seconds and then it would disappear and she'd rant about something else. I'd never seen anything like it. As mean as she was to Richard, when she was done voting he gave her her "thank you for voting" sticker and said, "and I thank you too". I think he may have softened her a little. She must have stayed for half an hour and only left because 2 other people came in to vote and she was in their way. I wish I could remember more of what she had to say because it was so outrageous. To her credit, she often brings us brownies on election day. We could've used them yesterday. Why is it that when you sit around doing nothing all you want to do is eat?

I always dread working the polls the day before and it always turns out to be better than I expected, well worth the $100.00 or so that I earn for the day. I bet pole dancers earn a lot more and meet some pretty interesting characters too but I guess I'm too old for that.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Will I be able to eat my chickens?

Hmmm, that's a good question. I have 11 chickens, 1 of them is a rooster so we'll eventually have more chickens. One of the reasons we got them is so we could eat their meat. We eat more chicken than any other meat and like the idea of knowing where our food comes from. Now, this whole idea of killing them, well, I don't know how we're going to do it, but we plan to. I haven't named any of them and really can't even tell them apart except for the rooster, so I can't say that one of them is my favorite or anything. I have 3 different varieties, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock and Australorp, which is what my rooster is. I'm learning how dumb chickens are. Okay, they're smart enough to come running when I bring them their food in the morning or when I bring them a special treat like watermelon rinds. They also know to go in their pen at night when the sun sets. Aside from that I'm not sure there's much going on inside those funny little chicken heads. Sometimes they get out of their fence or I let them out to explore. Unlike goats or dogs, who know exactly how to get back to where they came from, chickens can't figure out how to go around a gate that's open and find the entrance again. They'll walk up and down, up and down a fenceline trying to get in instead of walking all the way back around the way they came. I have to go catch them and throw them over their fence or have them follow me. Today I felt like the pied piper when I went to rescue one wayward chicken and the goats and all my feathered friends followed me to go get her. I have to wonder if they'll even know if one of them is missing the night I'm serving her for dinner. Harsh, I know.

We still have another month and a half till they'll be ready to eat anyway so I guess there's time to think more on it. If they're smart, which isn't very likely, they'll lay lots of eggs and save themselves from the knife. Why are eggs high in cholesterol and chicken isn't?

A friend asked me last night if we'll be selling the baby goats for meat. I can tell you right now there's no way I can eat one of my goats. If the chickens showed me some affection I might say the same about them.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Habitat For Humantiy

I've changed my tune since my post of a few days ago labled Whine Festival. Last night James and I went to a dinner to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of our area Habitat For Humanity. We knew just a small handful of people there. We sat at a table with a nice older couple and found lots to talk about. Somehow we got on the subject of Italy. I forget how it came up. We told them we were there last September. They had been there just four months earlier. They asked where we stayed and we told them one of our favorite places was this small midieval village called Scanno. Wouldn't you know it, that's where his father grew up and that's where they went too. What are the chances you go to a function of maybe 75 people and have that in common? This village is pretty far from the big cities and touristy places and up a windy 1 1/2 lane road on the top of a mountain. It's not even in the vacation guidebooks that we bought. I thought that was pretty great.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with why I changed my tune about giving to people and them not appreciating it. The director of Habitat thanked everyone for coming and for whatever support they've given to the organization. He invited some of the recipients of Habitat homes up to the front and asked if they wanted to say anything. Four of them did. These people were so thankful, couldn't say enough about how they appreciated all Habitat has done for them and how when they wake up in the morning or put their key in their front door every day they feel so blessed. One or 2 of them even had tears in their eyes. Talk about making you feel good.....

I came home feeling good.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What memories are made of

James and I woke up at 9:45 this morning. We couldn't believe it. I thought the older you got, the earlier you got up. I imagine it has something to do with all the fresh air and exercise we've been getting. We did get to sleep a little later but still not past midnight. Adam came home around 11:30 and told us there was a car with a camper pulled off the road with a flat tire just over the bridge. He wanted to know if he should go see if he could help them. We said yes, but be careful, as we laid there all cozy in bed. He came back 5 minutes later telling us that their wheel had come off so they'd been there an hour fixing it and now their car wouldn't start. Adam got some jumper cables and drove back. They had gotten the car started right after he had left them but they waited for him to get back to leave. They were heading to the campground where he works and said they'd tell the owners how helpful he was. It's always good to earn brownie points at work. Those poor campers. First they lose a wheel less than a mile and a half from where they're headed. It was late at night. They had children in the car and now it's their first day of camping and it's pouring rain. This will be a vacation they will remember.

I once asked my sister, Elaine, if she had as fond memories of camping as a kid as I did. She said she hated it. It's funny how our memories of it were so different. We talked more about why each of us liked or disliked camping. She told us a story of going camping with friends and getting lost when she came out of the bathroom and couldn't find the campsite. I pointed out that while she didn't have all that much fun, she was still telling the story and laughing about it. Some of my favorite memories are of trips we've taken where things got really tense but in the end it all came out fine. Lots of rainy weather, scary canoe and kayaking and getting lost stories. As a matter-of-fact, it seems like I remember more about the trips where something went wrong than ones that flowed smoothly. I also have very clear memories of getting in trouble and crazy things I did as a teenager and hope my teenager doesn't do but I won't elaborate on those. Of course I have good memories of some magical times too. Meeting amazing people on vacations, perfect strangers who have invited us into their homes or invited us to eat with them. Seeing Adam play with kids who didn't speak much English. Exchanging addresses with people from other countries who we'd only known for a day. Gathering green-lipped muscles off the rocks just outside our shack and eating just them and broccoli for dinner. Running up and jumping down huge sand dunes on a secluded beach in New Zealand on Christmas day. Watching James get chased by a seal because he got too close trying to take a picture. Getting attacked by a bird when I got too close trying to take a picture. Walking on hardened lava above a hot lava tunnel and later watching a film that told us how dangerous that was. Fishing from rowboats. Meeting James in the Poconos. The night my water broke and a million memories that began with that night. Even learning there wasn't a Santa Clause was kind of a fond memory (okay, a little disappointing) because Debbie and I learned that together. And on and on and on.........

A few years ago my family came here for my parents 50th anniversary. It was a great 3 or 4 days. It would be fun to do that again but this time talk about what it is we remember about different things from our childhood. What makes some of us store away some occasion while the others have no recollection of that time at all?

I wonder if those children in the car with the camper will have any memory of this weekend 10 years from now and what will their memories be?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Whine festival

Dear Holesinmyjeans,

I try not to whine more than 4 days a week. Today is one of those days and since you're such a good listener I thought I'd whine to you.

Yesterday I watched one of the Oprahs I recorded with my DVR. I love Oprah and my DVR (no whining there). The show was about people who did nice things for others. One fellow took donated cars, fixed them up and gave or sold them to less fortunate people, often single moms, for very little money. Another person collected pillows and bedding from hotels who were just going to throw them away, and gave them to shelters. Another retired couple opened a free health clinic and had many other volunteers from their community helping. It was a feel-good show. Made me want to do something for people who don't have all that we do.

Ok, here I go. James and I own a small house that we used to live in. We call it the cottage. It's a rustic home but cozy. When we moved to the house we're living in now we weren't ready to sell the cottage. A friend/acquaintance of ours was going through a divorce and was struggling and needed a place to live. We offered her the cottage. We didn't want to heat it and take care of it so we let her live there rent free. She's been there 2 1/2 years and it has worked out really well. She keeps the place up nicer than we did and the only thing we've had to do to it in the last 2 1/2 years is put a roof on it. Recently she told us she was getting married and they wanted to stay in the house. We told her we were going to start collecting rent in June. We told her this a few months in advance. That was fine with them. Yesterday, June 3rd, I told her we'd like the check by June 7th. She emailed me this morning and said they were strapped for money and would pay us the 21st. I was really disappointed. The rent is not high, they both work full-time and they knew a few months in advance this was coming. I'm feeling a lot different than I was yesterday after watching Oprah.

Okay, here's another one. A group of teenagers (mostly 19 year olds) camped down at the river over Memorial Day weekend. They were friends of Adams. Most of them had camped down there before and cleaned up after themselves. Today James came back from the field carrying one of our blankets that was left on the picnic table. There were bottles, cans, cups and plates left down there too. He said it was the messiest anyone's ever left it down there. I wonder if I was that inconsiderate at that age. Probably, but that's neither here nor there, is it?

On Saturday a young man knocked on my door. He opened the door without waiting for me to do it, which I thought was a little weird. He asked if he could fish from our property. I asked him, "who are you?" Most people introduce themselves first, especially if they want to ask a favor, don't they? He told me his name, where he lived and who he lived with. I didn't know them even though they live just across the creek. I told him of course he could fish and to have fun. He then added, "oh, by the way, Melinda (his mom? aunt? whoever he lives with) says the weeds are high outside our fence at the corner and it makes it hard for her to see." I told him if she wanted them cut she was welcome to come do it. I wanted to say something else but I controlled myself. There's lots of poison ivy there and I'm not getting into that. Wouldn't you know it, the county came by that same day and cut the banks along the road. I hope she doesn't think I did it for her.

So you see, Holesinmyjeans, I'm not the generous person you might think I am. It's not always easy to give freely without expecting a little thanks or appreciation. I'll never be a Mother Theresa.

I may re-read this post later and delete it because I feel bad talking about these people. We'll see.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Vintage Virginia Wine Festival

Yesterday my friend, Colleen, and I drove 2 1/2 hours to Northern VA to meet up with her sisters and nieces in Haymarket to go to a wine festival. There were 6 of us. The festival was outdoors at Bull Run Park. It was a beautiful day but had rained the night before and the ground was very muddy so they had straw down everywhere.

I have no idea how many wineries were represented but there were many tents set up with someone ready to let you taste 6 to 8 (or more) of their wines. You really couldn't move from one tent to the next and start all over because it was just too much wine. I know, you can't believe I just said, "too much wine", but it's true. You really don't get much wine at each tasting but it still gets to be too much for your mouth to handle and I felt full even though I hadn't had much. Maybe it was all the tiny crackers I ate in between. There were other vendors there selling their wares too and it was nice to browse through their stuff while taking a break from the wine. Colleen and I bought cool earrings and a few others bought hats and other clothing.

I have to say that, besides being with fun people, the most fun was people watching. I would guess the average age there was 40's and under. I think maybe 50% of them had at least one tattoo. Of the 6 of us I saw at least 3 of us did. For an outdoor event on a hot day I was amazed that most of the clothing people were wearing was tasteful. Usually when it's hot you see more skin than should probably be exposed on people who shouldn't be exposing it.

Another fun thing to watch was the way people tasted the wine. You can bet that most of us there probably drink the same wines at home time and again, and cheap wines at that. But yesterday we were all connoisseurs, smelling, sipping and rolling the wine around in our mouths as if we could taste the fruit, the wood of the barrel and experience every other nuance of the wine. We were much classier for just a few hours

I came home with only 2 bottles of wine, neither of which I'd drink a whole glass of. They were more just for fun. One was a strawberry wine I got for James because I think it's something he may actually drink. It really tastes like strawberries, unlike most wines that taste very little like the fruit it was made from. It's too sweet for me and tastes a little like strawberry jam. The other bottle was called Hot Jazz. It had less than 1% jalapeno peppers in it. It definitely had a kick. I thought it would be kind of fun to have others taste so that's why I bought that one. Colleen and I agreed I should make Mexican pizzas one night and serve this wine.

Before I left that morning I was wishing I wasn't going so I could stay home and work on the fence that I'm so excited to get up. I'm glad though that I went. It was a wonderful day and the fence is still waiting for me just like James told me it would be.